Recently we’ve been reading, listening, watching…
…BBC Radio 4’s The future of leadership presented by Margaret Heffernan as we were getting ready to see in 2016 (Radio 4, 31st December 20.00hrs). She dissects the evolution of leadership from military command and control, to the emergence of the superhero leaders, for which she had the nice put down: “red cape fantasy”.
Now things have moved on. Teams and mutual support are needed to make more with less, and drive innovation that firms crave, says Heffernan. You need to take feedback and ideas from wherever you can. Firms will do better by making room for people to develop creatively, safely. Heffernan pointed to Carol Dweck’s mindset growth theories here.
Some good insights, especially about how some firms such as Microsoft have changed their more dog eat dog approach, to one that is more internally collaborative, and which allows for failure. Interesting to hear how Netflix has dispensed with annual performance appraisals as a waste of time; focusing on more immediate feedback. And where the boss of Sheffield-based Gripple can have the confidence to be away from big ticket jobs because he trusts his teams.
Heffernan who dislikes all the war and sport analogies in management arrived at one which was more to her liking (ironically based on a description by an ex-soldier). Gardening. You’re just creating an environment where everything can flourish.
Want to close the deal in another country? When it comes expressing yourself properly, knowing the difference between your cognitive and your affective is crucial when approaching different cultures, said Insead’s Erin Meyer in her article Getting to Si, Ja, Oui, Hai, and Da in. The Harvard Business Review (December 2015). With handy diagrams, and break downs of key parts of negotiations, it’s an article to reference before you book your tickets for any deal making trip.
Freedom or identity crisis? The portfolio career mystery in the Financial Times’s Business Life Section (P29, 29th December, 2015) focused on the problems of portfolio working. Herminia Ibarra, professor of organisational behaviour at Insead, looked at how portfolio careers don’t give simple answers in a world that likes strong narratives about who you are, and what you do.
“People who are and do very different thing are too often seen as scattered,” writes Ibarra. How to structure your working life, and making sure you don’t lose the pleasures of camaraderie are issues. Then there’s the idea that portfolio careers are only for people in the later stages of their working lives, rather than the young. That might not stand up to scrutiny given studies that show we are set to work for a much longer period, says Ibarra, and that we will have to rethink our life stages.
She concludes: “…we need to study what it takes to thrive in a portfolio career, rather than simply touting its virtues with a few anecdotes.”
We’ll be back with what’s caught our attention in a few weeks’ time.